Joanne Nova Comment
June 12th, 2011 at 3:29 am
Donald Rapp commented on Climate Audit:
Posted Jun 10, 2011 at 7:13 PM
It seems to me that the issue here is not whether the review of Lindzen and Choi’s manuscript was fair and equitable; I suspect that in many ways it probably was. The issue is whether the review was conducted in a manner comparable to reviews given by journals to other papers that express the alarmist view of climate change. In this regard there are two issues: (i) choice of reviewers, and (ii) depth of detail in review. I have the distinct impression that the choice of reviewers was tilted against Lindzen and Choi at the outset, and the depth of review seems to have been far more penetrating than for other papers. Indeed, it seems to me that it is in the nature of climatology that short-term random chaotic variations are typically much greater than long-term secular changes, and it is very difficult to unravel the long-term signal from data. Since most cases involve inadequate spatial and temporal data coverage, climatologists seem to derive a dollar’s worth of conclusions from a penny’s worth of data. For example, Dessler et al. (JGR, 2008) analyzed a mere one-month’s data in 2005 to infer clear-sky top-of-atmosphere outgoing long-wave radiation (OLR) and its relationship to humidity. I wonder what kind of review that paper received? Gettleman and Fu (2008) used a mere five years of data. The work by Soden et al., Santer et al. and Dessler et al. and others shows great ingenuity in ferreting out information from very limited amounts of data, some of which is of uncertain reliability. But ultimately, the credibility of their results is limited by the scarcity of good long-term data. Parameters such as humidity and cloudiness vary widely from day-to-day and year-to-year even in the absence of any forcing. In attempting to determine how these parameters respond to a forcing, one must have data over very long periods to overcome the low signal-to-noise rations inherent in them. The same problem occurs in sea level measurements.
However, whereas climatologists studying sea level have emphasized the need for very long-term data, those who infer feedbacks from humidity and cloudiness seem to be content with very short-term data.
I suspect that if all of these papers had been subjected to the same kind of review that Lindzen and Choi received, they might not have been published. Indeed, if all climatological papers received this kind of review, the journals would be emptied out.
This is just it. The friendly papers get published and cited, and then later buried with a peer reviewed response (which can be delayed up to two years), but Lindzen’s paper didn’t even get published before it was “rebutted” by an anonymous team, which published their criticisms online before the paper was in press. It shows you how important the paper is, and how afraid they are of it going “un-rebutted” for even a month or two.
It is our attitude toward free thought and free expression that will determine our fate. There must be no limit on the range of temperate discussion, no limits on thought. No subject must be taboo. No censor must preside at our assemblies.
–William O. Douglas, U.S. Supreme Court Justice, 1952